For more than 10 years, Khiem Hoang, business manager of Umbrella Salon in San Jose, California, had issued written surveys to gather client feedback. “But it seemed challenging to get people to fill them out.”

10 Technologies: Online Client Surveys

So this year, Hoang took the survey online with some amazing results, then shared the concept with fellow salon owners at the Owners’ Exchange at Oribe Backstage. Working from a hotel survey he’d completed as a guest, Hoang leveraged his e-mail newsletter service Constant Contact to create a quick, easy survey that gave the salon information about clients’ experiences on three key areas: with the front desk, their service provider and their overall impression on the job the salon was doing. “It was a user-friendly interface that they could complete on their computer or using a smartphone or iPad in five minutes or less. Each question was based on a ‘rate your experience’ type of survey.  We limited the number of required questions and I limited the rating scale from 1-3,” he says.

Although the comments section was optional, the information derived from it was valuable, says Hoang. “We posted all comments—both positive and negative—for service providers.”

To get client cooperation, Hoang sent out 2,500 invitations to take the survey, reinforcing that client opinion makes a difference to the salon. Clients were given 14 days to take the survey, and were offered an incentive—a 10 percent savings on product purchases at the completion of the survey. About 10 percent of sampling came back (a really strong number).

Hoang discovered about 80 percent of clients who competed the survey made a comment, and the majority of those were positive. But other comments are shaping the way the salon does business. “For example, one client wrote about his allergies and his concern about clean air in the salon. As a result we’ve installed a new ventilation system.”